From Seattle area activists:
On Sunday, Seattle activists returned to the homes of Chris Toher, Dave Harrison, and Lew Guerrette, three executives of Skanska USA, all culpable for the lab contract with University of Washington. Only days prior, court proceedings began between Skanska and No New Animal Lab. Toher, Harrison, and Guerrette were all present in the courtroom and have been attempting to bring injunctions against the campaign. Dragging No New Animal Lab through the legal system is more than just an attempt to get restraining orders against specific organizers. It is a calculated move on the part of Skanska to instill fear and divert attention away from the campaign's effective tactics. They don't want to spend money on attorneys and the time and energy exhausted in their legal strategy. They just want to halt our activity. Specifically, they want to stop home demonstrations...
With this in mind, a crowd of Seattle animal advocates responded with more home demonstrations. First up was Dave Harrison, Senior Vice President of Skanska USA Building. Dave signed the preconstruction contract with the University of Washington, developing the initial timeline and budget for all preconstruction work related to the lab.
Next was Lew Guerrette. Lew is Project Executive and "Team Leader" for the Animal Research and Care Facility project. Lew claims to be against the lab itself and supportive of the campaign, an alibi which quickly crumbled as soon as he filed injunctions. Both Lew and his wife were home at the start of the protest, and they frantically shut all the blinds to hide--unsurprising for someone who claims to love dogs and yet profits from labs which use and abuse them. Lew's neighbors were particularly aggressive. As always, we like to remind neighbors that their complaints are better offered to the target of our protests. They are the only ones with the power to make it stop.
Lastly, activists visited the home of Chris Toher, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Seattle office. Chris likely thought that his summoning of the legal system in the form of SLAPP injunctions would excuse him of future home demonstrations. He could not have been more wrong.
The No New Animal Lab campaign will stop only when UW and Skanska stop plans to build the ARCF. It is only a matter of time before pressure builds to the tipping point. To UW and Skanska: You can act now or you can act later. The choice is yours. But the outcome will be the same--there will be no new animal lab.